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burke082

Mt. Hood

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Hey all! I just moved to Oregon and am thinking of climbing mt. hood this month. What gear am I going to need and what do I need to know before I go? Any and all replies are appreciated! Thank you!

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you're gonna need rigid sole boots that hold crampons well, an ice axe and a helmet. all the necessary layers, gps, headlamp.

 

and what you need to know is that you're gonna want to wait until its snows and covers up all the rock up there, then wait till the avalanche conditions are stable, and you have nice weather. then get up real early and start climbing.

 

 

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Buy a copy of Freedom of the Hills and read it. By the time you finish reading it there should be adequate snow cover to attempt Mt Hood, say about April.

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What's your fitness level?

 

October is sometimes sorta OK for climbing... but if it's cold/icy enough to take a crampon and keep your ankles off the rocks 4" under the snow, it's probably going to be way out of the technical ability of a noob. Thems experienced alpinist conditions, and most experienced alpinists don't want shit to do with Hood in October, except for specific reasons.

 

In other words... I'd wait. But you can spend your waiting period getting as fit as a fiddle, so you might actually enjoy your climb when you finally get it.

 

And definitely buy a copy of Freedom of the Hills and read it front to back a couple times, as suggested.

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I am very fit, so I'm not worried about that. All I see online for climbing times is late spring. Is november/december not a good climbing time if weather permits?

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well you went from talking of climbing this month to climbing in December.. Some of the questions you've asked indicate you lack enough familiarity/knowledge of the mountain/climbing to safely go.

 

You want snow coverage. And not a dusting. But like a few feet and more starting at ~8-9,000 and above. I've had good November and December climbs, but it's entirely conditions dependent. Also there's minimal daylight, weather always comes faster, leaves slower, and doesn't break as forecast this time of year. You have to know what you're doing.

 

Gear? Mostly Same stuff you'd use to climb other volcanoes. If that doesn't help you, again, you need to read freedom of the hills, take a climbing class, or find a mentor, or some combination. Not intended as a douche response. If this was tying your own flies, fishing, auto repair, photography, or gardening, we'd give advice and tell you to go for it. Many hobbies are great to learn by just jumping in. This is one that demands a minimal foundation because there is little room for error and no forgiveness for mistakes.

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i would encourage you to hike up to triangle moraine or illumination rock first, just to get experienced with whats happening up there. No real experience needed for that.

 

it can be climbed in november and december, i have had some of the best conditions up there during those months, but that was after I had climbed it about 10 different times and spent many other days up there skiing on many different areas of the mountain.

 

December in a low snow year has great climbing, but hard ice that requires real crampon skills and proper equipment, plus all the other skills that mountaineering requires.

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Water: You're right I do not have any experience with this mountain because I just moved to oregon about a month ago. So at the very least you're going to want a few feet of snow up there? I have crampons and an ice axe, but do I really need snow shoes? I have been looking for some type of climbing class that I'd be able to attend, but haven't found one yet. I'm just trying to get as much information as I can.

 

Christophbenells: Thanks for all that. Maybe I'll have to do that partial climb to check things out.

 

What about the bergschrund? Will I know once I'm near it?

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What about the bergschrund? Will I know once I'm near it?

 

Most of the time it's visible and you just walk around it. Sometimes it's filled in and you just walk over it. Sometimes it's partially filled in and covered up, and you could fall into it if you don't know where it is. Sometimes as it's filling in, the left and right ends fill in with unconsolidated powder that won't actually support your weight, relative to the surrounding snow, and if you step into it just wrong you will sink in... possibly up over your head... and the Coleman glacier will spit your mangled body out into White River Canyon in about 25 years.

 

There's also a secondary crack that tends to open up to the lower-right of the bergschrund... sometimes it's there, sometimes it is not... and all of the above conditions also apply to this crevasse.

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burke082, really good idea to get some experience and some qualified instruction first. Despite the fact that Hood's SS is an entry level mountaineering experience, all of the locals regularly see folks attempting it who are simply not prepared at a basic level. The only metric we have to assess your preparedness is the list of questions you've asked here ... and it sounds like you're new to this stuff. Cool! Welcome aboard and hope you have fun. But don't add unnecessary hazards to what should be a fun, relatively easy, relatively low risk experience.

 

Hood in the Fall and Winter can be a very different animal than in Spring, and your ability to assess conditions is key. A few pointers from random folks on the web isn't going to get you to where you need to be. Oregon and Washington based guide services offer courses that can get you prepped. Look into those and there's no reason you can't be ready when Spring rolls around and conditions line up.

 

Oh and Welcome to Oregon! It's kind of awesome here.

Edited by jfs1978

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^ yeah to the above. I think my post maybe seemed overly cryptic of negative but jfs really nailed clearly. I would definitely get a feel for the mountain. Just go up to silcox hut or hike to the stone shelter on cooper spur, etc, get a bit of a feel this winter and read up and possibly sign up for classes. While not for everyone the Mazamas offer a basic climbing course in the spring that is semi-functional instruction. Or yes choose a guiding service to either take you or get instruction from on basic crampon/ice axe etc techniques. Have fun this winter then when the more ideal time rolls around in the spring you will be dialed in and stoked for success.

 

if you're not familiar with crampon use and ice ax self-arrest seriously you must learn those (and some other) skills before you can attempt Mt. Hood, or your risk of injury/death will be very high. Fitness is good and important but less so than knowledge even, but we don't know more about your background so you are getting conservative responses.

 

 

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